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July 20, 2010

Committee recommends smaller class sizes


The Yomiuri Shimbun reports: 'A committee of the education ministry's Central Council for Education has proposed reducing the maximum number of students per class at public primary and middle schools from 40 to 35..... The committee does not specify an exact maximum number of students per class in the proposal, but sources said it would be 35 for primary and middle schools and 30 for the early grades of primary school.

More than 40,000 additional teachers would likely be needed if the class size is reduced to 35, requiring another 300 billion yen annually in labor costs. The maximum number of students per class set by law is a major factor in deciding the number of teachers allocated at a public school. For example, if the maximum number is set at 40 and a school has 41 students in one year, the school will have to divide the class into two--one with 21 students and another with 20. As a result, two teachers will be allocated to the school.

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